Saturday, 31 December 2011

Top of the year to you.

So it's that time of year again.  The end of it. The time to reflect on the last 12 months of your life before going and getting so drunk you can't remember the last 14. It's also the time of year when everyone starts listing the best things of the year.  So here's me jumping on that bandwagon!  (For curiosity's sake I rolled a d10 to get how many entries there are in each section.)

In no specific order, my top everything of 2011:

Top 9 Games:
- Terraria
- Batman: Arkham City
- Magicka
- Back To The Future: The Game
- Bulletstorm
- L.A. Noire
- Rock of Ages
- Tropico 4
- Saints Row: The Third

(No, Skyrim isn't on this list.  I only got it last week and so far I have a pitiful playtime total.)

Worst 4 Games:
- Homefront
- Duke Nukem Forever
- Bodycount
- Dead Island

Top 6 Albums:
- White Rabbit - Egypt Central
- Imaginaerium - Nightwish
- Ukon Wacka - Korpiklaani
- Press X To Rock - Miracle of Sound
- American Capitalist - Five Finger Death Punch
- Deconstruction - Devin Townsend

Top 4 Songs:
- Tequila - Korpiklaani
- White Rabbit - Egypt Central
- Shipwrecked - Alestorm
- Primo Victoria (Sabaton cover) - Van Canto

Monday, 13 June 2011

I've got Balls of Steel

Today my copy of Duke Nukem Forever finally arrived. Along with it, the Balls of Steel collector's edition since I don't know what 'saving money' means. One thing I noticed when it arrived was the size of the box. That statue must have been bigger than I expected!

Looks full to the brim, right? Yeah, not so much.

After pulling out the huge amounts of wrapping and adverts it looked more like this.

Not as fancy as I first expected, but hey! It's Duke Nukem Forever! My inner child remembers the days of alien massacres and is psyched to finally own this thing.

I guessed the statue would have been that small even though my dad laughed at how puny it was.  The collector's edition cost £15 more than the game on its own so I wasn't expecting a work of art or anything.  I'm pretty glad with how it looks next to my batarang.
As for everything else in there, take a look.
All in all, I'm pleased with what I got.  The game doesn't seem too bad, though the loading screens are a bastard.  I may do a write up about it once I've played more.  Until then, I'll leave you with the huge amounts of rubbish it gave me.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Home is where the front is.

For my birthday this year I got Homefront. Actually, due to crappy delivery times it nearly turned out to be my Christmas present but that's another story for another time. So for some reason it was released over here about four days after the US release. I don't know if the internet had to book a plane to Europe and had problems or whether the US just wanted to test the game out first to make sure it wouldn't give us any ideas, but whatever the reason those four days became a mix of reading reviews and avoiding spoilers. From what I could gather I was ready to expect a mediocre single player campaign with a decent multiplayer mode to justify the price tag. I should have been expecting a terrible campaign all along. Now, bear in mind I stopped playing after the third chapter. Some may say it's wrong to judge a game without completing it but if I've stopped playing at the start of the game and have no desire to carry on then there is something seriously wrong in its implementation.
Thankfully, I'm here to tell you what, specifically.

For instance, your teammates are utterly useless. To see how well their AI was I crouched behind some cover and watched. For a full two minutes. One lay holding her stomach and the other pointed his gun menacingly at the enemy, firing only five shots, all of which missed. If it wasn't for their plot armour or the enemy's disinterest in anything that isn't the player character I'd wonder how anything resembling a resistance managed to survive this long.

While we're on the subjects of teammates, they seem to have a strange infatuation with the player, as anytime I was aiming at an enemy and lining up the perfect shot they came running over looking for a hug. Now I'm all for raising morale during a war, but when you're telling a guy to help take down some enemy troops, rubbing your butt in his face so he can't see probably isn't going to help.

In a similar vein, they're always pushing you about. Homefront uses the style of storytelling where everyone stands around talking instead of loading cutscenes every two seconds. This usually means that certain people have to be in certain spots and God help you if you're in someone's way. You'll get pushed out of the way and in to a wall by an approaching NPC. This can't even be countered by staying far back enough, since the talking won't start until you're a certain distance away from everything. I can't count the amount of times I've been waiting for someone to open the next door only to find I needed to be a little bit more to the left.

Your character is the most gentleman like specimen to ever be in a video game. There are points where you need to go up a ladder, down a hole, or over a ledge. At these points, you have to wait for EVERY single member of the team to do so first, while you wait patiently for the prompt to appear telling you it's your turn. This will occur even if you get there first, which will happen a lot due to the NPCs never being in a hurry and wanting to take in the sights. Expect this a great deal, since most of the game is following people to the next area. Also, I don't know if it's a bug or bad timing on my part, but sometimes if I'm close to a ledge, I need to walk away and go back toward it before the prompt will appear.

Your NPC friends are also very impatient, and after telling you what you need to do next they'll repeat it ad nauseum so you don't forget. This wouldn't be too bad, except they think you have very bad short term memory and will remind you every 5 seconds. The same line in the same tone every 5 seconds. I think the stress of war is less about the bullets and more about the irritation.

One chapter asks you to provide cover, use a targeting system and jump off the roof all within the space of 5 seconds. Then you have to run to a jeep. It doesn't actually tell you to run to the jeep, so much as shout at you for being so caught up with shooting bad guys while the jeep has started driving away right after you jump off the roof. This is where I realised that throughout the game so far I'd kept dying at key spots and had to learn from my mistakes and learn where every enemy is and what route I have to take. The game was no longer about skill but about memory.

Yes, I realise that this post has been mostly a gripe at the AI, but really there's not a lot I can complain about gameplay wise. This is not necessarily a compliment. Everything I've seen so far has been done already, and done better in similar games. Maybe there's something I'm missing later on in the game that'll blow my mind, but going by what I've heard online and from my dad's experience with the game I don't hold out much hope.

I've only played a few matches in multiplayer mode so far, so I'm still optimistic about that one. My main gripe is due to my constant dying but I think I can chalk that up to a severe lack of skill rather than anything to do with the game.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Dragon Age POO!

I'm so sorry for the title.

It's no secret that I loved the first Dragon Age.  (The game, not the time period.)  It was a no brainer to buy the sequel once it had been released, so I figured I may as well make notes while I'm playing to discuss the changes made.  Sadly my notes turned out to be a ton of bitching about how bad some aspects of the game are.  Enjoy!
(Bear in mind, I've played 17 hours at time of writing, and am nearing the end of the third second 'Act' as it were.  Some of these points may improve later, but from what I've heard that's very unlikely.)

- This skill tree isn't too good.  I liked the amount of choice and skills in the original.  This one has a lot less of both.

- Why are enemies spawning right in front of me?  It really destroys any strategy when you've places glyphs and dealt with certain enemies only to have more spawn right in front of your face, not two inches from where you're currently standing.  Even if strategy isn't your strong point, it's really disorienting to see bandits popping out of nowhere or climbing out of the ground.

- Some NPCs don't know when to shut up.  I walk past and they spout some dialogue.  Then they say the exact same thing 2 seconds later because apparently I'm still within range.

- A minor point, but why is everyone calling me Serah?  I keep reading it as Sarah.  I realise the need for your character to have a title (DA:Origins had Ser when not being called Grey Warden) but Serah just sounds weird.  Though it does mean I can put it as my first name and pretend everyone's calling me by name.

- I just picked something up in a cave and immediately knew who owns it. One instance lead to a strange dialogue exchange.
About someone's remains: "You seem to have dropped this" 
"Oh my, I never thought I'd see this again"
Or the time I stole alcohol from The Viscount's office and gave it to an Elf in Lowtown who said he'd lost it.  What?

- Why is there only one heal spell which takes ages to regen?  One mage isn't allowed to even learn it.  On a similar note, if I use a potion, why can't I use another restorative item?  Elfroot potion is different to a health potion.  Is the game afraid I'll overdose on life?

- A soverign seems a lot more* less than it used to be.  Bribing someone just cost me 5 soverigns.  When I'm trying to save up, this isn't the best way to go about it.

* Don't know what I was thinking with that. I was probably drunk.

- I have a ton of armour, but I can only eqiup armour on myself.  Companions have an armour set you can buy which is automatically equipped and can't be customised.  This means most of the loot you'll find is useless, since it's either worse than what you have or not for your character class.

- Why are all the amulets and rings just called amulets and rings?  There's no indication of what each one does(unless it's special), so I have to hover over each one one at a time.

- There are doors and connecting corridors on the map, but no way to open some doors.  Makes the whole thing sort of confusing when trying to navigate a mansion or something.

- Why are people locking chests with nothing in them but torn pants?

- If a companion is in my party why do I have to go to their house to then have a conversation about how long it's been since they've seen me?  We just killed some bandits not 5 minutes ago!  Don't you remember that?

-Why can't I teleport out of an area like in the original?  (Admittedly, only certain areas allowed this, but it was still better than nothing.)  Do I really have to backtrack my way through this cave?  I've killed everything here.  This is boring.

-I just got asked to find some people who followed me on a quest.  That was three years ago.  You couldn't have come to me sooner? 

-I don't know if I'm missing it but there's no 'camp' screen, where I can scroll through each party member and sort out their weapons.  It seems I have to put each member into my party one by one.

- I just travelled to my house to have conversation options appear without the conversation going on.  I had no idea who I was talking to or what the context was. (Thankfully, saying 'You're cute' seemed to make them happy.  A life lesson.  If you have no idea what's going on, just say that and hope you're talking to someone you're attracted to.)

- If I'm attacking an enemy and they move away I just...stop.  Do I really have to tell the great, experienced warrior that the enemy isn't dead yet and needs more stabbing?

So far I prefer Dragon Age: Origins to Dragon Age II.  Again, I've not completed the game so it might improve.  Then again it might get worse.  Here's hoping for the former.

Friday, 28 January 2011

No content here. Move along.

Wow, it's been a while since I've had anything of value to put here.  November, last year, 2010, three months.  Long time.
Anyway, to all zero of you who care or want to know why there's been nothing new here in a while I shall explain.  I've been too busy jobhunting and screwing over my sleeping pattern.  Everytime I went to write something entertaining it fell apart due to either tiredness or lack of ideas.  After a while I had an idea.  "Hey, wait.  If I'm having trouble writing, why write at all?"  So from there formed an idea to rip off everyone else on the internet record a Let's Play.  Now I doubt I could speak for however long per episode and still be interesting, so I enlisted the help of a friend to fill in the gaps.  Any idea I talk about before it comes to fruition usually crashes and burns in the planning stages, but with any luck we should have a couple of episodes recorded and online soon. 
If the miracle fairy is smiling down upon us there might also be some more written projects once I've found a game I can poke enough fun at.  
So yeah, no new content YET.  No humour YET.  A new project SOON.  I need to go EAT.